20 Best Plant Based Protein Sources (Vegan)
All plant based protein sources for a healthy vegan diet. Include these delicious vegetable protein sources to get your protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins on a whole food plant based diet (with chart).
Are you worried you are not getting enough protein on a plant based diet?
You might have heard all the benefits of a whole food plant based diet and how it can heal your body. There are so many questions when switching to a vegan diet.
Many individuals believe that milk, eggs, and meat are essential for our nutrition, simply because that is what we were taught. Studies show the western diet that contains a high consumption of animal fat and protein causes not only health issues but also environmental damage.
Many doctors who promote a plant based diet and many studies have found that we don’t suffer from a deficit of protein, rather a deficit of fiber. I am not saying protein is not important, because it is for maintaining and building muscles and tissue, for skin, blood, and cartilage.
But we do not need as much protein as we thought. This study found that children today consume 4 times too much protein:
“A higher intake of protein, especially animal protein, at 1 y of age was associated with a greater height, weight, and BMI in childhood up to 9 y of age.”
Women in general need about 46 g of protein a day and men about 56 g. If you drink a smoothie in the morning with 1 cup soy milk, 1 oz hemp seed plus fruits, eat one bowl of oats with nuts and pumpkin seeds plus fruits, and add 1 cup beans to your dinner, you already met your protein need for the day (women).
If you add 2-4 cups of vegetables to your meal(s) you have used a variety of plant based protein sources filled with other important vitamins and minerals. You can add 1-2 cups leafy greens to your morning smoothie and 1-2 cups mixed vegetables to your dinner.
Of course you can add more plant based protein to your diet if you are an athlete, but it is really simple to reach the recommended protein intake if you follow these few tips. If you want to learn more about protein on a plant based diet check out the book “Proteinaholic” by Dr. David Garth.
What about fiber?
More than 90% of Americans don’t eat enough fiber (study) even though fiber can reduce the risk of colon cancer (study), breast cancer (study), risk of diabetes (study), obesity (study), and more.
Fiber, therefore, will not only heal your body, but also will help with weight loss. With the knowledge that you don’t need as much protein as you believed, you can be sure that this list below will help you find great plant based protein sources for your diet and also provide enough fiber.
Below is a list of the best plant based protein sources that you can use to create your meal plan. Make sure to add nuts and seeds whenever you can (cereal bowl or smoothies) and include a variety of protein sources. The vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds below are not only a great source of protein and fiber, but have other great health benefits.
Best Plant Based Protein Sources (Vegan)
When I talk about the percentage of daily value it is determined for my age, height, weight, and activity. I use cronometer.com to track my food intake to see if all my nutritional needs are met. The daily value might vary depending on person and lifestyle. I mention this to show the benefits of each food other than protein and fiber.
1 oz hemp seeds (28 g, 2T): 9.4 g protein and 2.8 grams of fiber. Hemp Seeds are also a complete source of all 20 amino acids.
1 oz chia seeds: 4.7 g protein, 127.8 calories, 9.8 g fiber over 200% of daily vitamin K great omega 3 to 6 ratio.
1 oz pumpkin Seeds: 8.5 g protein, 162 calories, 1.8 g fiber. 50% of daily phosphorus and magnesium (155 mg) and 13% iron.
Almonds (12 whole, raw): 3.1 g protein, 85 calories, 1.8 g fiber,25% of daily intake of vitamin E.
Walnuts (8 halves, raw): 2.5 g protein, 105 calories, 1.1 g fiber, 30% of daily manganese and copper.
Oats and Buckwheat
1 cup cooked oats: 6 g protein, 166 calories, 4 g fiber. High in vitamin B1, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and selenium.
1 cup cooked buckwheat groats: 5.7 g protein, 4.5 g fiber, 154 calories. High in magnesium, manganese, copper, and B-vitamins.
1 cup cooked quinoa: 8.1 g protein, 5.2 g fiber, 222 calories.
1 cup cooked brown rice: 5.5 g protein, 3.2 g fiber, 248 calories.
1 cup cooked black beans: 15.2 g protein, 15 g fiber, 227 g calories. 16% zinc of the daily value.
Beans vs. Beef patty: One beef patty contains 20 g protein, 0 g fiber, 190 calories (85% lean), and 11.2 g fat (beans only have 1.1 g and less saturated fat)
1 cup cooked soy beans: 31.3 g protein, 10.3 g fiber, 295 calories. 50% daily value of iron.
1 cup cooked lentils: 17.9 g protein, 11.6 g fiber, 230 calories. 21% daily value of zinc and rich in B-vitamins.
1 cup cooked: 14.5 g protein, 12.5 g fiber, 268 calories. Contains about 20% daily value of zinc, 10% of calcium, and 26% iron.
1 cup cooked green peas: 8.2 g protein, 7.2 g fiber, 124 calories. Very high in vitamin A.
1 cup cooked broccoli: 3.7 g protein, 5.1 g fiber, 54 calories. Broccoli is very high in vitamin C, A, and K.
1 cup chopped and cooked: 3.4 g protein, 3.4 g fiber, 43 calories. High in zinc, selenium and B-vitamins.
1.24 cup chopped leafy greens: 3 g protein, 2 g fiber, 25 calories. High in vitamin A, C, K, calcium, and magnesium.
0.5 block tofu: 14.7 g protein, 1.5 g fiber, 126 calories. Rich in calcium.
1 cup unsweetened organic and fortified soy milk: 7.8 g protein, 2.6 g fiber, 73 calories. One cup should meet your daily vitamin B12 need.
For a meal plan to get started, check out this 80 g of protein per day meal plan, or the 120 g protein vegan diet plan.